Engineering Students Race for 29th Annual Wooden Shoe Regatta
August 01, 2019
About 70 Grand Valley engineering students raced 1/12 scale sailboats at the School of Engineering's Annual Wooden Shoe Regatta on July 31.
The regatta has been a School of Engineering tradition for 29 years, and involves students racing their boats, all hand-made from blocks of basswood, against the clock to see which boat can cross the test tank the fastest. The boats were required to cross the tank in the Keller Engineering Labs using nothing but wind from a series of fans blowing perpendicular to the path of the boat.
Using principles of fluid mechanics, like buoyancy and stability, students applied lessons they learned in class to model sailboats they built throughout the spring and summer semesters.
Shirley Fleischmann, professor of engineering, began incorporating sailboats as a way to teach the course when she taught at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in the early 1980s.
The junior-level students also had their boats judged for appearance earlier in the week. Krista Ash won the style competition, while Noah Bollo had the fastest boat.
Both Bollo and Ash were awarded a wooden shoe as a trophy, a tradition in the annual race and style competition.
The regatta is part of a series of events held during the Engineering Design Conference.